You could honor Love Your Pet Day today by spending quality time with your favorite four-legged friend, but one Ohio-based organization allows you to do more than that. The Battle Buddy Foundation recently opened an LA office to bring its mission of helping veterans via service animals closer to home. Through donations, sponsorships, and volunteers, the nonprofit organization pairs veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a psychiatric and mobility service dog or “battle buddy” to cope as they adjust to life after active duty.
“My Battle Buddy, Atlas, is a constant reminder to relax a bit and enjoy the smaller things in life,” says disabled Marine combat veteran and The Battle Buddy Foundation cofounder, Kenny Bass. “He has given me the opportunity to lower my guard a bit while out in public, allowing me to enjoy some of the normal things in life again—like taking my wife to dinner or the kids to a baseball game—without being overcome with anxiety or a hypervigilant mind.”
Witnessing the difference Atlas made in Bass’ life was what sparked the idea in cofounder and fellow Marine veteran Joshua Rivers to start the foundation. James Vonderhoevel is just one of the veterans that the organization has helped thus far. “My battle buddy Kobi has impacted my life by giving me confidence to take control and move forward with it,” he says. “Kobi has helped me particularly with being able to go into public places with my family, allowing us to do more things as a family, which I am grateful for.”
The Battle Buddy Foundation has also changed the life of Army veteran Chris Grimes. “Sabre [my service dog] is always playful and always at my side when I need her most—that alone helps me through the dark times, the nightmares, the heartaches, and the feeling of loss,” he says. “The foundation is really as it reads, a ‘Battle Buddy;’ it gives us the ability to go on and never walk alone.”
Written By: Jessica Estrada
Source: Los Angeles Confidential